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Fluorescent Macromolecules for Live Cell Imaging


Fluorescent labelling of intracellular organelles, proteins, or nucleic acids (NAs) is an essential way of studying the structure and function of live cells. With their excellent photophysical and biophysical properties, conjugated polymers (CPs) and conjugated polymer nanoparticles (CPNs) are useful for labelling, sensing, and delivery of biological substances. However, relatively large molecular weights and broad molecular weight distributions of CP-based materials often limit their intracellular applications in live cells. Due to a smaller hydrodynamic volume, molecularly defined short conjugated oligomers (COs) appear to enter cells by fast diffusion through the cell membranes, whereas CPs and CPNs are most likely endocytosed and entrapped in endosomes or lysosomes. Despite their advantages, there are few examples of COs being used for fluorescent labelling applications in live cells. To combine the advantages of conjugated polymers (CPs) with more chromophores per molecule and conjugated oligomers (COs) with monodispersed molecular weights and fast cellular entry, the inventor has synthesized phenyleneethynylene macrocycles (PEMCs). The macrocycles are prepared by using imine coupling between aldehyde end-capped phenyleneethynylene (PE) trimer units and flexible diamines. For polycyclic macrocycles, the amine can be triamines or tetraamines. Because the equilibrium in the imine bond formation can be quantitatively shifted to thermodynamically favored products, the target macrocycles can be obtained in high yields without accompanying by-products.


Can be obtained in high yields without accompanying byproductsExhibit fast cellular entry, RNA selectivity, and nontoxicity

Market Application

Visualization and imaging of cellular RNA using standard microscopy techniques


Moon et al. Phenyleneethynylene trimer-based rigid-flexible [2+2] macrocycles for nucleic acid labelling in live cells. Chem. Commun., 2019,55, 5930-5933
Technology Inventors: Joong Ho Moon
Technology Information URL:
University: Florida International University
Tech Transfer URL:

Associated Patents

Patent Name: No Patent Title
Patent Number: US 9,283,544; US 9,557,252
Patent Status: Issued
Patent Record: View full record at google patents
View full record at United States Patent and Trademark Office
Patent Inventors: Joong Ho Moon

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